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Hunting for Journalists Hits Ukraine

Police say attacks on journalists are mere hooliganism, but mas media rejects this 
Three attacks on journalists have been registered in the Ukrainian city of Donetsk within thee days, it is quite a record. Late at night on August 12, correspondent from the Ostrov (Island) online edition Eduard Malinovsky was severely beaten in the center of the city. When the journalist left the Bunker cafe after football broadcast, he was attacked by five strangers. The police allege the men were football fans. These "fans" beat the journalist, as the police say, because the man supported a different team; but the hooligans didn't take Eduard's money and documents. The journalist was delivered to the neurosurgical department of the Donetsk regional hospital where he now stays. One of the hooligans has been detained; the police classify the case as "a scuffle of two drunken men."
 
The Ukrainian Mass Information Institute (the representative of the Reporters Sans Frontieres international organization in Ukraine) suggests another version of the incident: Eduard Malinovsky has probably suffered because of one of the publications he made about well-known oligarch Rinat Ahmetov. However, Obshchestvennoye Radio (the Public Radio) where Malinovsky also works as a journalist reports that the Prosecutor's Office classifies the case as "hooliganism committed by a group."
 
Within a day, the journalist from the Aktsent regional newspaper and free-lance correspondent of Kiev's online edition ForUm Sergey Kuzin arrived a the Bunker cafe to find out details of the attack committed at his colleague a day before. When the journalist left the cafe, he was suddenly attacked by a group of people (it was so unexpected that Sergey cannot even say how many people actually attacked him). The incident occurred near the Shakhter (Miner) football club; this time it was obviously committed not by football fans: the attackers seized the journalist's mobile phone and a case with official documents. Doctors say Sergey Kuzin has concussion of the brain, cracks on bones of both legs and the right arm. 

Thursday evening, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Zolotoi Skif magazine Vasily Vasyutin was beaten in the center of the city. As a result of the attack by strangers the journalist was beaten and had his mobile telephone stolen. The victim of the attack was delivered to the local clinical hospital where he had put the stitches (the journalist had been beaten with a rubber club and lost consciousness). The attackers didn't take Vasily's money but preferred his personal business cards.

On the surface the three attacks look like ordinary criminal incidents; it is highly likely that the police will investigate them as hooliganism and robbery. But not all journalists believe in this version. Zolotoi Skif Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mishchenko said in an interview with ForUm it was strange that the three journalists had been attacked in the center of Donetsk. What is more, soon after the beating of Eduard Malinovsky, Vasily Vasyutin several times commented upon the beating and was also attacked. Alexander Mishchenko says it cannot be either affirmed for sure or rejected that the attacks may be interrelated.

Recently, several attacks at journalists have been committed in other cities of Ukraine. On July 17, Editor-in-Chief of the Dosie weekly Anatoly Naumov was beaten in the city of Zaporozhye. In Kiev, two young men in suits but with a club and electric shocker attacked the Ukraina Kriminalnaya (Criminal Ukraine) website Editor-in-Chief Oleg Yeltsov near his house. The journalist himself says it was sort of a warning not from criminals, but from law enforcement authorities who fear that he might have facts concerning the strange death of Igor Goncharov.

Some time ago the Ukraine National Journalist Union had to appeal to the authorities and demanded that terror against mass media must be stopped.

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